Unpaid debts lead to receivership filing for Canadian RAS firm Sustainable Blue

An aerial view of Sustainable Blue's facility in Nova Scotia
An aerial view of Sustainable Blue's facility in Nova Scotia | Photo courtesy of Sustainable Blue
4 Min

The minority owners of Nova Scotia, Canada-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) company Sustainable Blue have requested the company be placed into receivership.

"An application for receivership has been filed. Beyond that, I can’t comment further at this stage as the matter is before the court," Sustainable Blue CEO Kirk Havercroft said.

The failure of its aquaculture systems due to filtration problems in November 2023 resulted in the loss of 100,000 Atlantic salmon – or roughly 20 percent of its fish – which cost the company as much as CAD 5 million (USD 3.7 million, EUR 3.4 million). Havercroft told SeafoodSource in December then the company was still bullish on the company’s future prospects.

According to All Nova Scotia, the loss of the salmon eliminated the company’s expected revenue from 28 November 2023 through 31 July 2024. Forecasts from the company indicated it needed as much as CAD 12 million (USD 8.7 million, EUR 8.2 million) to support the growth of the salmon that hadn’t been affected by the mortality event – which Havercroft told SeafoodSource was related to a structural failure rather than a “failure within a RAS system.”

To help fill that gap, minority shareholders Thane Stevens and Jim Lawley gave loans to Sustainable Blue amounting to CAD 2.3 million (USD 1.7 million, EUR 1.5 million), but according to the court filings the loans were not a “sustainable long-term solution,” All Nova Scotia reported. 

The company’s financial matters took a turn for the worse when loans that Sustainable Blue signed in June 2023 with the Bank of Nova Scotia for CAD 17.5 million (USD 12.9 million, EUR 11.9 million) and CAD 4 million (USD 2.9 million, EUR 2.7 million) matured on 8 March. The company put its 52.9-acre property, assessed for taxation at CAD 10.9 million (USD 8 million, EUR 7.4 million), up as collateral for those loans.

To stave off bankruptcy, Stevens and Lawley reached an agreement with the bank to acquire the company’s debt, allowing Sustainable Blue to maintain its operations while it looked for funding. The company was then registered as 4595756 Nova Scotia Ltd. on 8 March, with Stevens and Lawley as its directors.

On 12 March, the newly formed company, which was expected to have advanced ...

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